Take a stand for housing justice: comment on Suffolk Downs today!
The 10,000 new units of housing proposed by HYM Investment Group for the former Suffolk Downs race track would, in essence, add an entire new neighborhood to Boston. It's impact would be acutely felt in the predominantly working class immigrant neighborhood of East Boston.
To email a quick comment, simply click here. Ask the Mayor and HYM to:
1. Mayor Walsh: Slow down the process! Work with housing advocates and residents to address our concerns.
2. Mayor Walsh and Tom O'Brien: The project needs to have real affordability. The Boston People's Assembly (a citywide gathering of residents creating a People’s Plan for Boston) demands that all new development must have at least 50% affordability for families. We agree! Suffolk Downs should have 50% affordability for families at 25% of Area Median Income.
3. Mayor Walsh and Tom O'Brien: Work with housing justice advocates and residents on creating a displacement mitigation plan that will keep East Boston families in our homes. In another part of the city, the Fairmount Corridor, the mayor pledged to protect the housing of all residents at risk of displacement. You both have a responsibility to protect all Eastie families.
4. Mayor Walsh and Tom O’Brien: Ensure that weather-resistant green spaces like the parks, bike lanes, and outdoor theater are publicly visible and accessible for all neighborhood residents to use.
City Life's work with older women fighting eviction at Our Lady's Guild House was featured on the front page of The Boston Globe. We're on the ground supporting the women alongside Fenway Community Development Corporation. The nuns that own this large rooming house, The Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, have strayed from their mission of helping those in need and instead are operating much like the large profit-driven owners we deal with every day. After reading the article, SIGN THE PETITION in solidarity with these bold women - help us reach 1,500 signatures!
We're on WBUR's Radio Boston, talking about how the displacement crisis has hit Egleston Square. What does it take to stop the displacement of historically redlined immigrant neighborhoods like Egleston? Organizing for real affordability & tenant protections!
INCREDIBLE NEWS! Ms. Rosa Poincy, a Dorchester grandmother and Section 8 renter at the Baker Chocolate Factory apartments has WON A NEW LEASE after facing imminent no-fault eviction.
How did Rosa's victory happen?
First, Rosa made the courageous decision to speak out for her home, instead of just packing her bags. Then, YOU signed a petition that garnered over 1200 supporters. Next, we held a beautiful and strong vigil and rally in front of Rosa's apartment, where Rosa made it clear that *she wasn't going anywhere*. Groups like Dorchester Is Not for Sale, Dorchester People for Peace, Right to The City Boston and the City's Department of Neighborhood Development joined Rosa's clarion call for justice.
But what was the magic sauce? Rosa took a risk. She believed that if she stood up, the community would rise with her. AND WE DID!
Every day, we see low-income families of color getting pushed out of Boston's overheated housing market for no fault of their own, due only to real estate greed. But we can, and do, win homes back.
NEXT STEP: JOIN OUR ACTION ALERT LIST to participate in other actions (and more victories!) for housing justice.
City Life/Vida Urbana will be CLOSED from Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 through Tuesday, January 1st, 2019.
There will be no weekly Tuesday night meetings in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 or Tuesday, January 1st, 2019. Tuesday night meetings will resume on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019. Thank you and happy holidays!
VIDEO RELEASE: What will it take to hold our communities together during Boston's displacement crisis? A PEOPLE'S PLAN for housing development, led by neighborhood residents on the frontlines of the crisis. WE'RE BUILDING IT alongside many partner organizations in Right to the City Boston. Sign up to get involved at reclaimboston.org.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018: Over 250 residents gathered for citywide assembly to build a People's Plan for housing development in Boston. Along with resident-led neighborhood groups Reclaim Roxbury, Dorchester Not for Sale, and Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing and Racial Justice and other Boston-based housing justice organizations in the national Homes for All campaign, we began drafting the plan. The assembly centered the needs of Bostonians on the front lines of the displacement crisis and proposals were generated by these residents.
After the "People's Plan" assembly, participants marched to the national YIMBYtown ("Yes In My Backyard") conference of advocates for increasing housing supply. Despite a last-minute relocation of the scheduled plenary and an attempt by some YIMBYtown organizers to prevent protesters from entering, over 100 residents, many from Roxbury, boldly paraded in.
Groups sponsoring the protest included Reclaim Roxbury, Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing, City Life/Vida Urbana, Dorchester Not for Sale, New England United for Justice, and Action for Equity.
Lisa Owens, Executive Director of the 45-year-old housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana, led the interruption alongside Roxbury residents.
"I'm greeting you as a woman who grew up around the corner," Owens said. "I stand here as a member of the Homes for All coalition...The people most impacted by the displacement crisis must lead this housing movement, and anyone who believes differently is not an ally of racial justice," said Owens.
City Life/Vida Urbana has supported tenants - predominantly Latino and African American - in over 75 building-wide "clear-outs" in the past five years.
Owens then appealed to potential YIMBY supporters: "There are some people in the room that truly care about affordable housing. And unfortunately some who have taken on the YIMBY banner have been co-opted by people who want to put more money in developers' pockets," Owens said, referring to many YIMBYs' push for new luxury housing through deregulation.
The coalition of neighborhood and non-profit groups that organized the "People's Plan" assembly launched a pledge campaign on Monday, September 24th, via Twitter, asking YIMBYs in Boston and around the U.S. to support the campaigns of Bostonians in the grip of the city's historic surge of displacement.
Saturday, September 22nd, at 10 Putnam St., First Church of Roxbury - BUILD A PEOPLE'S PLAN for Boston's future!
Register now at bitly.com/bostonpeoplesplan.
Tired of neighbors, friends and family getting displaced? Think the rent is too damn high? Tired of widespread luxury development? Then JOIN US for a Boston assembly to build a people's plan!
**Light lunch, child care, and interpretation provided!**
What's happening at the assembly?
**We'll weave together a variety of housing initiatives (and related initiatives about zoning, jobs, land, and transit) that our neighborhoods are actively fighting for and will particularly focus on consolidating city-wide demands and equitable development standards that are created thru a community-run process.
**We'll connect the impact of our experiences to build shared power.
**We'll build our movement for Homes for All and our relationships between Boston's neighborhoods to advance a vision of equitable development in which community engagement is central and we stop forced-displacement of our low-income communities of color.
Our Lady’s Guild House (OLGH) has operated in the Fenway for more than 60 years as a residence providing affordable housing for women of all ages and income levels at 20 Charlesgate West. Comprised of roughly 120 units, OLGH’s stated mission in 1993 was to “provide safe and affordable housing for single women, working women, retired women or students.” However, it appears their operating model has changed, as their website now advertises “a short-term residence for women between the ages of 18 and 50 years old who work in the Boston area and/or attend school or internship programs.” Rents at OLGH have rapidly risen since 2012 to the point that they are no longer below market rate. Dozens of disabled, older, and low-income women have already been pushed out to make way for short-term residences and AirBNBs aimed at students and young professionals.
We believe the owners have chosen to not renew the leases of women over 50 in a concerted effort to get the older women out of the building and replace them with students and younger women to whom they can charge market rate rents. Some of these older women facing eviction have lived at OLGH for decades.
We need your support to help these women continue to live in their homes. This tax-exempt charitable organization is engaging in blatant age discrimination and causing unnecessary displacement. Please show that you support these women’s right to remain in their homes by signing below.
Watch our video on Boston Neighborhood Network News:
To urge the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception (owner) and Marc Roos Realty (property manager) to…
Reverse their decision to terminate leases with long-term older residents at Our Lady’s Guild House as of July 31st, 2018. The impending evictions are for no fault, nor for any other legitimate reason than refusing to continue to lease to older women. As these women are denied lease renewals, their very rooms are being advertised online to attract new and younger tenants.
Provide new and renewable leases that allow these older women to remain at Our Lady’s Guild House as long-term residents, instead of forcing them out of their homes. Single-room occupancy is the only housing they can afford in Boston.
- Reverse the new policy of short-term rentals in this 120-room building, which limits leases to two years while adding AirBnB hotel-like rentals. This practice is displacing low-income Boston residents in favor of transitory, mostly-affluent visitors and students, as well as reducing the critically needed inventory of permanent housing in the city.
Thank you for signing,